A panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean
Nanjo City is the southernmost city in Okinawa. It is made up of four towns, Sashiki, Tamagusuku, Ozato and Chinen. In Chinen there is a bridge with the most spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean. This bridge is called Niraikanai, it's a bridge that stretches and twists 660m down the mountains of Chinen and looks over the ocean. The word “Niraikanai” is translated as utopia over the sea as the bridge looks over Kudaka Island, Komaka Island, and Chinen Cape, in the far distance.
This is a serene, meditative view away from the bustle of Okinawa roads closer to the Southern part of Okinawa. If you drive along route 331 around Nanjo City you can drive up the bridge which stems off on route 86 up the mountain. The best times to capture the stunning colors of the ocean are anytime after midday and before 5 pm.
The bridge is also a popular place to view the first sunrise to welcome the new year. You can see and join many locals and tourists in seeing the first sunrise of the year very early in the morning.
There is a tunnel at the top of the bridge that welcomes the vision of the sea. The tunnel has an observation area open to visitors to take photos of the view from high above it. You can get to this observation area by parking on either side of the road. The roads are next to the Defence Army of Japan on both sides.
You are able to park your car but you are not allowed to drive your car up towards the observation area. It is a short walk up a slight slope to get to the view.
You will not be disappointed after visiting “Niraikanai” view. After Niraikanai you can check out Sefa-utaki which is a little down the road from Niraikanai bridge, the most sacred prayer site for the whole of the Ryukyu Kingdom, Kakinohana Springs, and a ferry ride to the sacred island of Kudaka Island.
The bridge is open 24/7 and is free for viewing. It is not safe to park the car mid-way on the bridge to take pictures. We would advise you to park the car on either side and walk to the observation area to get some of the best pictures of Okinawa as advised.
Location: Nirai Kanai Bridge Observatory